Melissa Klug's Reviews > Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks
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Aug 20, 12

bookshelves: 2012

This book is easily one of the more unique I've read in years. Max is an 8 year old autistic boy with an imaginary friend named Budo who has been "alive" since Max was 3, making him practically elderly in the world of such friends. This world of the imaginary friend that Matthew has established is fascinating and singular. Imaginary friends can be anything a child envisions: in one scene, Budo meets "a boy-sized spoon with two big, round eyes, a tiny mouth and stick-figure legs and arms," and in another, Budo tell us, "I once met an imaginary friend that was just a hair bow with two eyes...She was afraid...I'd be afraid too if I was a little deaf hair bow stuck on a kindergartener's head." Imaginary friends generally have a shelf life: as in our house, kindergarten is a time that imaginary friends often disappear. When children grow too old or too independent to need to believe in an imaginary friend, the friend starts to dissipate, becoming increasingly transparent until they no longer exist. There are dozens upon dozens of extraordinarily imagined concepts for these friends in the book--I always turn down pages when I read something intriguing and this book is a minefield of triangled corners. I would ruin some of the discovery that is delightful about this book if I articulated some of my favorites--I'd rather you discover them for yourself.

The essence of the book is this, as Budo describes the pitfalls of imaginary friendship: "It's very strange to be an imaginary friend. You can't be suffocated and you can't get sick and you can't fall and break your head and you can't catch pneumonia. The only thing that can kill you is a person not believing in you." Budo has been alive much longer than most imaginary friends, and he becomes critical to Max's very survival when he falls into a terrible situation. Max believes so strongly in Budo that the imaginary friend becomes the only person who can save the very real Max.
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